I enjoy traveling, seeing new sights and soaking up the culture of other places. I recently had the opportunity to live and work in the Pacific Northwest for six weeks. The Washington coast could not be more different than the Arizona desert I’ve known and lived for most of my life.

Yet, when I returned home, trading the emerald-colored trees, cool temperatures and the snow capped mountain peaks of Hurricane Ridge for the dusty brown, hot and dry Arizona desert, I still felt a sense of relief.

I was home again.

Those who know me and my semi-reluctant camping ways, may assume the relief was because I was luxuriating at the convenience and comfort of a real bed, running water and electricity that wasn’t limited to a campground restroom. You try keeping a lap top and cell phone juiced up without a generator.

But, alas, that was not an accurate depiction of my travels. Three weeks of the trip were spent in a cute, two-bedroom bungalow – complete with cable television and Wi Fi. The temporary abode was also conveniently located and I was able to walk in town and visit book stores, art galleries and eat my favorite treat – pizza. So I wasn’t suffering from a lack of amenities.

But it wasn’t home.

So even though I enjoyed the beautiful setting, met some wonderful people and had the opportunity to exercise without risking heat stroke, I was glad to be home again.

One reason I am happy is home is a place where I can enhance my environment to suit my needs. This is no small matter. I learned from Lisa Montgomery, a feng shui expert in Phoenix, that the circulation or stagnation of an invisible energy called qui (pronounced chi) can have positive or negative effects. This ancient Chinese practice consists of positioning objects, buildings and even whole communities to maximize the flow of energy and have it flow more in harmony with nature. The following excerpt is from my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, regarding the results Lisa experienced using feng shui techniques in her own home.

“I saw a dramatic change in three months,” said Lisa. “Once I was able to put feng shui into practice, along with a positive attitude, everything came together. My financial situation, which had been strained, improved. And not just typical things like making more money. I’d enter contests and win. My luck changed dramatically. But, best of all, I felt more comfortable and in balance with my environment. And when you feel balanced and happy, it makes sense that your life is going to be more open for good things to come. Even now, I tell clients, I can’t promise you that feng shui is going to make you rich, although a lot of them do see their money luck change. But I can promise that you will experience more harmony in your home and feel more balanced.”

Not everyone wants to employ a feng shui expert, so here are a few things a layperson can do to enhance qui in their home.

•Give the house a thorough cleaning. Qi stagnates in a messy environment. Not everyone enjoys cleaning, but your life is worth it. Clean up your act and keep it that way.

•Get rid of clutter.

•Box items you don’t use and put a date on it. If you haven’t used it in a year, sell it, give it away or donate it to charity.

•Take an inventory of the things in your house. Pay attention to how each object makes you feel. If you experience a negative sensation, get rid of it.

•Surround yourself with things you love. If that means getting rid of that ugly lamp you inherited from Aunt Tilly, so be it. You don’t wear Aunt Tilly’s clothes and you don’t have to live with her ugly furnishings.

For more tips, be sure to check out the book at

Author's Bio: 

Sally Marks is the president of Marks Public Relations and the co-author of the self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. Her book is available at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/11183

You can visit her blog at www.erasenegativity.blogspot.com.